Director of Athletics
|PHONE: (219) 464-6894||EMAIL: ValpoAD@valpo.edu|
Mark LaBarbera became Valparaiso University’s director of athletics on July 1, 2004.
Since LaBarbera took the reins of the athletic department, Valpo teams have made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, while earning 15 league regular season titles and 15 conference tournament championships. In addition, 14 student-athletes have earned All-American honors during LaBarbera's tenure at Valpo.
In the classroom, Valpo student-athletes have earned Academic All-American accolades 17 times under LaBarbera’s watch. The athletic department also has consistently led Horizon League institutions in graduation rate and Graduation Success Rate, doing so in each of the last five years. In the most recent report, four Crusader teams earned the NCAA Public Recognition Award for ranking among the top 10 percent nationally within their respective sports in Academic Progress Rate.
LaBarbera was instrumental in assisting with Valparaiso’s move to the Horizon League, which took place on July 1, 2007, the school’s first change in conference affiliation in 25 years. In 2009, LaBarbera announced the addition of three new sports programs (men’s and women’s golf and women’s bowling) to the athletics department, expanding the department to 21 varsity sports.
During his 12 years of service, LaBarbera has overseen a multitude of facility projects. The main arena of the Athletics-Recreation Center has been upgraded with a new playing floor, dedicated as Homer Drew Court, and a four-sided center court video display among other upgrades, while Hilltop Gymnasium has been renovated as well. Brown Field, the home of football and men’s and women's soccer, was renovated, including the installation of a new ProGrass playing surface and the addition of the Warren G. Hoger Track. Numerous upgrades have been made as well to Emory G. Bauer Field, Valparaiso University Softball Field, and Eastgate Field. The Valparaiso University Tennis Complex and the Mosak Performance Center have been completed and a new fitness center developed.
LaBarbera serves as the Horizon League’s representative on the NCAA D-I Council and as the vice chair of the Council’s Strategic Planning and Vision Committee. He is also on the Horizon League's Strategic Alignment and Governance committees. He has also served as the chair of the Horizon League’s Television Task Force. In 2013, he finished a four-year term as a member of the NCAA Baseball Committee. LaBarbera oversees Valpo recreational sports, as well as serving as sport administrator for men's and women's basketball, baseball, football, and volleyball.
Prior to Valpo, LaBarbera served as an athletics administrator at the University of New Hampshire from 1999-2004 and at North Carolina State from 1989-1999. From 1984-1989 LaBarbera was the comptroller at Chicago’s North Park College, his alma mater.
LaBarbera earned a BA in business administration in 1981 from North Park College. He went on to earn an MBA from DePaul University in 1987. A native of North Tonawanda, New York, LaBarbera earned an AAS in business administration from Erie Community College in Buffalo.
LaBarbera and his wife, Sally, have three children, Matthew, Tim, and Sarah.